Pentagon overspent budget by $295 billion
An auditor's report presented to the US Congress this week reveals inefficient spending and missed deadlines.
The Pentagon has gone hundreds of billions of dollars over budget in recent years on key weapons systems, including aircraft, ships, and satellite, said a government audit. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said for the sixth year in a row that the Pentagon had significantly gone over budget, but according to a report presented to Congress this week, the problem is getting worse.Skip to next paragraph
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The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average. In addition, none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages.
Auditors said the Defense Department showed few signs of improvement since the GAO began issuing its annual assessments of selected weapons systems six years ago. "It's not getting any better by any means," said Michael Sullivan, director of the GAO's acquisition and sourcing team. "It's taking longer and costing more."
The GAO said that Pentagon spending on weapons programs has rocketed to a 20-year high of $1.6 trillion, Agence France-Presse reports. The GAO said a total of 72 programs, including combat ships, fighter jets, and satellites, were over budget.
The spending on new weaponry continued to rise despite funding competition from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and a decline in discretionary spending in other areas of the US government budget, the GAO said.
"Every dollar spent inefficiently in developing and procuring weapon systems is less money available for many other internal and external budget priorities – such as the global war on terror and growing entitlement programs (such as social security)," Gene Dodaro, the GAO's acting comptroller general, said in the report delivered to Congress on Monday.
Government auditors said Wednesday that almost half of some 28 contracts to manufacture body armor for Army soldiers were completed without proper tests, the Washington Post reported.
According to the 195-page GAO report (links to PDF file), the Pentagon has doubled the sum pledged to new weapons systems from $790 billion in 2000 to $1.6 trillion in 2007. The GAO also concluded current programs are delivered 21 months late on average.